I have missed out on grits for my entire life. Until too recently I swore I hated anything soft made with cornmeal. Though I love corn chips, I’m opposed to corn tortilla, I thought I hated polenta, and grits? Fugghedaboutit! I’m a New Yorker. Haven’t you seen My Cousin Vinny? New Yorkers don’t grow up eating grits! I spent seven years living in the South and the closest I came to trying them was when I tasted some from the school cafeteria. Needless to say, they didn’t sway me.
It was actually a batch of polenta that changed my mind about cornmeal altogether and from then on I’ve been hooked. Alex has always loved them, so he’s delighted by their sudden presence on our dinner table.
Making shrimp and grits is the perfect hearty meal because it takes a very short time to make. I use Bob’s Red Mills grits and they take 6 minutes to cook once you have your water boiling. I make them via the package instructions, and my grits don’t claim to be “quick grits”, but a friend made me realize that many kinds take longer to cook than this. Check your package before you buy them or it could take closer to 30 minutes. Of course I add some cheese and butter. A quick sauté of your shrimp and the two come together perfectly. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
shrimp and grits
makes 2 servings
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup corn grits
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a small saucepan, bring the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the grits, stir, and let cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese, cover, and set to the side. Toss the shrimp with the dry spices and 1/4 teaspoon salt until evenly coated. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp are mostly pink. Add the parsley and cook for 1 minute more or until the shrimp are cooked all the way through. Stir the grits, adding salt to taste, and divide them between two bowls. Top with the shrimp and serve immediately.